WASHINGTON, D. C., RAW – Airbnb has been cancelling home-sharing reservations in the Washington, DC area for the week of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after law enforcement warned of a threat from armed militias, the rental platform says.
It says it made the decision after consulting local and federal officials and after a number of hosts worried about potential attacks sought to cancel bookings.
“We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the inauguration,” Airbnb said on Wednesday.
The company did not comment on specific instances and said it did not see evidence on its platform of guests planning protests and attacks.
Critics of last week’s attack on the US Capitol have asked hotels to cancel bookings during inauguration week to prevent further attacks but major hotel chains Hilton Worldwide Holdings and Marriott International said they planned to uphold existing reservations.
“Our hotels in the DC area will remain open leading up to and through the inauguration. We of course have the safety of our guests and associates top of mind given the recent events. We are monitoring the situation very closely and have operational and security plans in place,” Marriott said.
Airbnb, which floated its shares on the stock market last month, has banned from its platform some individuals found to have ties with hate groups or who were involved in last week’s deadly storming of the US Capitol.
The company will issue a full refund to guests and hosts will be paid in full for the cancelled bookings.
Security around the Washington, DC Metro area has been ramped up and a number of local, state and federal officials have asked people not to travel to Washington during Inauguration week.